Casey Stowe of Wayzata starts his Class 2A 100 yard backstroke qualifying race Friday. Photo: ANDY KOSIER, Special to the Star Tribune
Winona senior Jack Herczeg is closing out his high school swimming career at the boys’ swimming and diving state meet this weekend.
After winning three individual events and swimming on two winning relays in the last two Class 1A state meets, and having already signed a Division I letter of intent, Herczeg could have approached the meet satisfied with those accomplishments.
“I think he’s wanted it more this season,” Winona coach Chris Mayer said. “He’s been driven this year. After each meet, he’s asked for information on how he’s doing. He is so dedicated. I’m so glad to have him.”
Herczeg began his final state meet Friday with the top time (1 minute, 40.2 seconds) in the 200-yard freestyle preliminaries. He followed that with a Class 1A record time of 44.62 seconds in the 100 freestyle preliminaries.
He closed out his day by swimming a leg on the Winhawks’ 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relays. Both relays had the top qualifying times.
Herczeg agreed that he has been motivated this season.
“No doubt,” he said. “Going to a team like Ohio State, I knew I couldn’t just replicate my times from last year and help them. I need to be faster than last year. That’s what’s pushed me.”
The Winhawks have finished in the top three at the past two state meets. The Winhawks advanced seven individuals and two relay teams to Saturday’s finals.
“[Saturday] is my last day of high school swimming,” Herczeg said. “I’m just going to go out and have fun. I have the best teammates in the state in the pool, and they are the greatest bunch of guys out of the pool.”
Winona senior Grant Wolner, the defending champion in the 100 butterfly, had the top time (50.02 seconds) in Friday’s preliminaries. He also had the third-best time in the 200 individual medley and swam a leg on both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Karpenko sets record
Minnehaha Academy senior Andrew Karpenko opened defense of his Class 1A state titles in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke by just missing the Class 1A state record in the 200 individual medley and setting a record in the 100 breaststroke.
In the 200 individual medley, his time of 1:48.36 was just off the Class 1A record of 1:48.05 that he set last year. In the 100 breast stroke, he swam a 54.26 to beat the record of 54.41 he set last year.
“I’m really happy with how the whole season has gone,” Karpenko said. “And, I wanted nothing more than to end the season on a good note. I’ve got some work to do, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Crosby sets two records
Breck/Blake sophomore Charlie Crosby set Class 1A records in the 50 freestyle (20.31 seconds) and in the 100 backstroke (47.65). Crosby was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke at last year’s state meet.
Breck/Blake, which has won three consecutive Class 1A titles, qualified 13 individuals and all three relay teams for Saturday’s finals.
Breck/Blake senior Neils Wu, the defending champion in the 500 freestyle, had the top time in the 500 preliminaries (4:44.24).
Zheng sets pace in 2A
St. Louis Park junior Hayden Zheng, the defending champion in the Class 2A 200 individual medley and the two-time champion in the 100 breaststroke, had the top qualifying times in both events in the Class 2A preliminaries.
In the 200 individual medley, he swam a 1:47.75. In the 100 breaststroke, he had a time of 54.34 seconds. Zheng set the all-time and Class 2A state meet record in the 100 breaststroke last time with his winning time of 53.86 seconds.
Chaska/Chanhassen junior Evan Bock had the top qualifying times in the 50 freestyle (20.83) and the 100 butterfly (48.56) and swam a leg on Chaska/Chanhassen’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays, which had the top qualifying times.
Defending Class 2A champion Edina advanced 11 individuals and all three relay teams to Saturday’s finals.
Stillwater’s Josiah Fick, the defending diving champion in Class 2A, had the top score in the 2A preliminaries Thursday: He had a 319.90. Edina’s Max Deters is second with a score 281.05.
In the Class 1A preliminaries, Chisholm sophomore Storm Opdahl had the top score with a 331.3. Simley’s Garrett Kaiser is second with a score of 314.05.
50-yard freestyle: Charlie Crosby, Breck/Blake, 20.31. Previous: 20.61 by Cameron Hyde, Sartell-St. Stephen, 2011.
100 freestyle: Jack Herczeg, Winona, 44.62. Previous: 45.08 by Jason Timmer, Sauk Rapids-Rice, 2004.
100 backstroke: Crosby, 47.65. Previous: 48.57 by Anderson Breazeale, Breck/Blake, 2019.
100 breaststroke: Andrew Karpenko, Minnehaha Academy, 54.26. Previous: 54.41 by Karpenko, 2019.